May 16, 2013

The Measurement of Personality

There is a large variety of tests for measurement of personality. Almost every theorist has also developed a measurement technique of his own along with his personality theory. Usually the type of personality test chosen in any particular situation reflects the test-giver’s own theory. Moreover, it indicates the purpose for which the test is being given and much about the testing situation.

Most widely used personality tests are of two types: Objective and Projective test.

1. The Objective Tests:

Usually answered in writing rather than conversation, objective tests call for short replies. They are consisting of a standardized list of questions. The possible short answers are generally of true-false, yes-no, cannot say, completion item or multiple-choice types. The answer never exceeds a word or two, where it is to be so answered. You just tick T (True) or F (False) or your response in all cases except completion item. Here your answer will be of one word or maximum two. While interpretation, being less subjective than for projective tests, does not call for the same level of skill and training from the examiner, it. is still not cut-and- dried. In scientific and practical terms, these tests do come out to be better on validity and ‘reliability than do the projective techniques.

‘Among those widely used in personality testing are the following

1. MMPI: The Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory. J.C. McKinley and Starke R. Hathaway (1951) from Minnesota Medical School found a way to bring some kind of standardization to psychiatric diagnosis. They collected more than 1000 potential questionnaire items, which then they posed to both mental patients and apparently healthy people. Starting during late 1930’s with 566 items, they then kept 550 items that clearly differentiated between the patients and the non-patients.

This test has generated so much research that by 1976, some 3500 references on the MMPI were in literature (Anastasia) in the States only. While the inventory is still used to look for evidence of emotional disturbance, it is also widely used as a general measure of personality traits. The answers are characterized in two ways -- on four scales that check the overall validity of the test taker’s answers and on ten clinical scales that demonstrate specific traits. Se Tables 76 as a specimen.

In spite of all its popularity and wide usage MMPI is not without critics. The original standardization sample was too small to begin with and the test-retest validity hovers around zero (Samuel 1981). A major problem is that the test is often used outside the clinical setting for which it was originally developed. This inventory had been also standardized completely.

2. The 16 PF: Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factors Questionnaire: Raymond Cattell (1965, 1973) came up with a basic list of sixteen source traits using factor analysis, a statistical procedure. Factor analysis provides a way to group highly correlated items to gesture. A group of such items is then called a factor. According to Cattell three of his basic sixteen factors are the most important in describing personality. They describe how outgoing or reserved a person is, how stable or emotional and how intelligent. Critics have charged that Cattell was arbitrary in extracting and naming his source factors and that the scales are not valid predictors of behaviour. Cattell is, however, refining constantly the techniques and the test is well esteemed in some quarters (Samuel 1981).

3. CPI: The California Psychological Inventory

As similar in concept to the MMPI, the CPI (California Psychological Inventory) was developed to measure normal’ or ‘non-deviant’ personality traits specially (Cough, 1969). In addition to three validity scales tapping test-taking attitude, there are 15 subscales which provide scores in such areas as dominance, self-acceptance, and responsibility, and self control, achievement via conformance, achievement-via-Independence, and feminist. Similar MMP,-the subscales were developed using criterion groups. The CPI criterion groups were made up of people who were judged by their peers to be strong on one of the traits measured by tests. By an expert interpreter, the test does quite good job of predicting how people will act in important situations and how they will be viewed by others.

4. JPPS: The Edwards Personal Preferences Schedule

This scale like CPI measurements normal response tendencies. It is designed to characterize people on the dominant motives or needs, found in Murray’s list of basic needs achievement, defense, order, exhibition, autonomy, and so on. While constructing this test, Edwards (1954) wanted to avoid a bias found in many personality inventories subject’s tendencies to give responses that show them in a socially desirable light. As a consequence, the Edward Personal Preferences Schedule asks people to choose one item in each of a series of 225 pairs that research has shown to he on the average equally desirable. Although it has not been validated so rigorously, as psychologists would like, the EPPS, has proved useful in counseling situations.

This personality schedule has been used in testing in Pakistan since early sixties. The field of life where it has been popularly in vogue has been selection in civil arid military important positions and for academic purposes. This test was also locally standardized in Urdu language quite long before.

5. ACI: The Adjective Check List.

It is very simple, versatile objective test, called the ACL (Gough, 1960) consisting of 300 adjectives. These adjectives are arranged in alphabetical order and are often used by the people m description of personalities. A person who has to rate some one goes through the whole list checking any adjectives which appear applicable to the person being described. One can also utilize the ACL for describing own self and make thus an estimate about oneself.

John S Lam is an IT Instructor at Examskey. He is 220-802 Certified Professional. Take the benefit of our 200-120 material and assure your success. Check out our free demo of all certifications Exams.
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